Red Tailed Hawk

Basic Information:

Scientific Name: Buteo jamaicensis

Habitat: Red tailed hawks live throughout North America, especially in the US. They may travel north at times during the summer for breeding season.

Diet: Red tailed hawks are a predatory species and hunt mice, rats, rabbits, snakes, and other small animals.

Size: 1.5 to 2.2 feet tall / 3.6 to 4.7 foot wingspan

Weight: 1.5 to 3.5 pounds

Lifespan: 20 to 28 years

Distribution Map:

I.U.C.N. Conservation Status:

What does this mean?

Least Concern – a species determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (I.U.C.N.) to be pervasive, abundant, and thriving.

Our Red Tailed Hawks:

Frieda (Female) – Estimated Birthdate May 1999
Tabi (Female) – Estimated Birthdate April 2018

Did You Know?!

  • Red tailed hawks are diurnal, meaning that they are most active during the morning and daytime and sleep most of the night. Their eyes are especially adapted for daytime hunting.
  • Red tailed hawks don’t usually chase after their prey. They prefer to sit on telephone poles or in tree-tops, waiting to swoop down on unsuspecting prey.
  • Red tailed hawks have a distinctive, raspy call that directors usually use in movies featuring birds of prey.
  • Many red tailed hawks join other hawks to form migratory kettles, or groups, as they travel south for the winter or north for breeding season. Not all hawks decide to migrate, however, and many do stay for the duration of winter
  • Red-tailed hawks are commonly called “chicken hawks.”